Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Nearing graduation day September 7, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo, May 2016.


THE WORD GRADUATION SLIPPED into the conversation between me and my therapist. Just like that after I excelled on a weekly skills test. If I continue to do well, I expect to graduate within a few weeks.

That would be graduation from occupational therapy which began two months ago. It takes a long time to recover from a wrist fracture and subsequent surgery to implant a 4-inch plate. Not only have I gone to twice-weekly therapy, but I’ve worked hard at home doing exercises two to three times daily in half-hour sessions. I’m determined. And my efforts are showing in increased usage and strength of my healing left wrist/hand.

Every week my therapist checks my progress, measuring my range of motion and testing my strength. This week my grip strength showed incredible improvement, increasing from 17 to 30 pounds in six days. I might have shrieked in delight upon hearing that number. But then my excitement deflated a bit when I asked what my grip strength should be for my non-dominant left hand. Sixty-five. Oh, well. I’m half-way there.

But every day I’m noticing improvement as I use my left hand more and more. The other day I picked up a detergent bottle with my left hand, not even thinking. Thankfully, though the bottle was nearly full, I felt no pain.

I’m using my camera, short lens only.

I’m carrying a laundry basket.

I’m cooking.

I’m cleaning.

Life is returning to normal. There were days when I felt like I would never get there, when I felt impatient and frustrated. But I’m on the other side of that doubt now, pushing toward my goal of graduating soon.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


16 Responses to “Nearing graduation day”

  1. valeriebollinger Says:

    Way to go…keep up the good exercise program.

  2. Littlesundog Says:

    It must feel grand to be able to get back to normal life, even if it means little steps. It feels good to be on the “other side” of it now, making progress and feeling a bit of accomplishment! I have a vision in my head what it must be to hear you “shriek in delight”. That made me smile big!! So happy for you Audrey!

    • After I shrieked, I realized what I had done and my therapist assured me they celebrate accomplishments and it was OK that I voiced my joy.

      You’re right on the little steps. I still have to watch myself and not lift too much. Like don’t grab that full gallon of milk from the fridge, etc. One thing I have yet to accomplish is my ability to easily hook my bra. I’m trying to get the muscles stretched enough to reach back and do that.

  3. Almost Iowa Says:

    Glad to hear you are on the mend.

  4. Hard work and baby steps are paying off for you – how exciting 🙂 Happy Weekend – Enjoy!

  5. YAY! On the mend! I’m happy for you!

  6. Jackie Hemmer Says:

    You are such a wise patient! I’m sure your medical team loves you…and your progress! I’m so happy for your progress.

  7. Beth Ann Says:

    Yippee! Graduation day is a wonderful day to celebrate. Congrats.

  8. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Normal always feels good! Good to hear things are improving!

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